Hope in Uncertain Times

Alissa Zhang ’21 adapts to the “ever-changing pandemic” and her community’s needs.

This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/students/grants.

Heading into the summer, I had plans to talk to kids at my local YMCA about the importance of community service and my continued experience of volunteering with SODE (Special Olympics Delaware), while making care packages for SODE athletes with the help of a CSGC grant. But in the midst of an ever-changing pandemic, my original plan could not be done, so I had to pivot. Still with the goal in mind to do something for SODE, I reached out to them and asked what they needed now, and they said PPE and more equipment in order to start their modified sport season that began on August 1st. The new, shortened season plans on offering a variety of sports, from cycling to soccer, all while making sure everyone there follows CDC guidelines and are in healthy conditions to participate. Hearing about the season made me very hopeful for all of our athletes, coaches, and volunteers, and I was determined to find a way to help.

With the CSGC grant I have received this year, I will purchase PPE for SODE to help start the modified sport season while also volunteering as a “Practice Safety” volunteer during the modified sport season. As a “Practice Safety” volunteer, I will make sure athletes are taking care of themselves during practices and events, practice social distancing, and are safe and healthy enough to participate in SODE events. During these times of uncertainty, it is my greatest honor to be able to continue contributing to an organization that I have been involved with for many years now.

The spring and summers are usually packed with exciting SODE activities and events like the Summer Games and the annual camp at Camp Barnes in August, so learning that the SODE spring season and summer events would be cancelled in March was devastating for all athletes, coaches, and volunteers involved. But we all remained optimistic that our athletes would still be able to get the opportunity to play, practice and compete one day, and that day is now coming soon, and I really look forward to seeing all of our athletes in August! I would like to thank the CSGC for providing me with this grant and helping me make an impact on my SODE community.